Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Aren’t free markets great?

I just saw the latest Mac ad, “Top of the Line”, which is a response to the latest “Lauren” ad of the “laptop hunters” seriesthe HP ad, not the original Microsoft ad.

Both ads are mostly true — perhaps a little more accurate when talking about their rivals than themselves. Windows machines are complex and prone to viruses, while Macs have limited options available, particularly under $1000. (There is the minor matter of whether or not “Lauren” is a paid actress.)

The Microsoft ads have gone a long way to revitalize the brand, but they still have a long way to catch up with Apple’s ads. Another contributors has been the ad with the precocious 5-year-old (“Kylie”) who discovers that Windows 7 is a heck of a lot better than Windows Vista.

Competition is good. We have competition in PCs, in mobile phones, in movies, videogame consoles, cable news networks. We have lots of competition in higher education and once had competition in local newspapers. Where we have competition, we get choice, efficiency, accountability. With monopolies — whether from private firms, public firms, nonprofits or government — we get none of these.

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